Pilot's Bar & Kitchen, T5 at Heathrow, September 2015

Venue: Pilot’s Bar and Kitchen at London Heathrow Terminal 5
Recipe 1: Tanqueray 10, Martini dry vermouth, stirred, olives
Price: Typical for Airport
WBM score: 62/100

A quick visit to see how the “competition” compared to our spiritual home at Gordon Ramsay’s Planefood.

We received a warm welcome from the new general manager, Orson. He patiently and graciously listened to our rote WBM pitch, and then left us in the hands of Bartosh [sp?], our exceedingly friendly, though by admission, somewhat inexperienced bartender.

As Bartosh proceeded with our order, Orson did return to ensure that he knew what was required. As with so many of the less polished bartenders we encounter, Bartosh came back to ask if we wanted olives. As our regular readers will know, our preference for olives in our benchmark Martini is always stated in the initial order. Our friends amongst the bartending cognoscenti will concur, you should never have to go back to the customer to ask if they want something they already requested!

We watched hesitantly as Bartosh proceeded to mix our drinks. It was almost immediately clear that this wasn’t going to get much of a score. House vermouth was Martini-brand, no Noilly or Lillet in sight. And too much went in for our liking. Combined with far too little Gin – only two double measures to make two Martinis. That’s not going to work!

Once served, Orson to his credit checked in again. We gave him our honest opinion, to which he agreed with our request for an additional splash of T10 to help things along. While not delivering a Martini that was up to our expectations, the splash at least helped us drink what we had.

So, at first blush, our friends at Planefood have little to concern them. However, with Bartosh’s enthusiasm to learn and his happy disposition, and Orson’s guiding hand and clear desire to please his clientele, we expect great improvements in the near future. We will of course arrange a repeat visit and give them another opportunity to score in our challenge.

James Thomas